Parental perceptions of participation in physical activities for preschoolers with disabilities

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Children with disabilities tend to participate in fewer physical activities than typically developing children. To promote participation in physical activities for children with disabilities, it is important to understand (a) parents’ experiences and roles in supporting their children's physical activities and (b) factors that might influence children's physically active behaviours. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight mothers of preschoolers with disabilities. Interview data were transcribed and analyzed to identify key themes. The majority of participants valued physical activities and were aware of the benefits of physical activities for their children. Several parental support behaviours were identified from the data, with the most frequent support behaviours being: logistics, prompts, and encouragement. Parents also described barriers that influence participation in physical activities for their children with disabilities. Implications for research and practice are noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-669
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 3 2020


  • Physical activity
  • disabilities
  • parents
  • perceptions
  • preschoolers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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